Martin Amis' unfond farewell to the British Lit scene.

He’s Leaving Home
ONCE UPON A TIME, in a realm called England, literary fiction was an obscure and blameless pursuit. It was more respectable than angelology, true, and more esteemed than the study of phosphorescent mold; but it was without question a minority-interest sphere.

In 1972, I submitted my first novel: I typed it out on a second-hand Olivetti and sent it in from the sub-editorial office I shared at The Times Literary Supplement. The print run was 1,000 (and the advance was 250 pounds). It was published, and reviewed, and that was that. There was no launch party and no book tour; there were no interviews, no profiles, no photo shoots, no signings, no readings, no panels, no on-stage conversations, no Woodstocks of the Mind in Hay-on-Wye, in Toledo, in Mantova, in Parati, in Cartagena, in Jaipur, in Dubai; and there was no radio and no television. The same went for my second novel (1975) and my third (1978). By the time of my fourth novel (1981), nearly all the collateral activities were in place, and writers, in effect, had been transferred from vanity press to Vanity Fair.

What happened in the interim? We can safely say that as the 1970s became the 1980s, there was no spontaneous flowering of enthusiasm for the psychological nuance, the artful simile, and the curlicued sentence. The phenomenon, as I now see it, was entirely media-borne. To put it crudely, the newspapers had been getting fatter and fatter (first the Sundays, then the Saturdays, then all the days in between), and what filled these extra pages was not additional news but additional features. And the featurists were running out of people to write about—running out of alcoholic actors, ne’er-do-well royals, depressive comedians, jailed rock stars, defecting ballet dancers, reclusive film directors, hysterical fashion models, indigent marquises, wife-beating footballers, adulterous golfers, and rapist boxers. The dragnet went on widening until journalists, often to their patent dismay, were writing about writers: literary writers.
Full piece at The New Republic